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What if I get a lower ATAR than I expected?

What to do if you don’t get the results you were hoping for
Don't worry if you get a lower ATAR than expected – many pathways still exist to reach your desired course or career.

Receiving your ATAR can be exciting and nerve-wracking and it is a good idea to understand your options early and create a backup plan. Here are our top tips to help take the pressure off when you receive your exam results.

Does your dream course offer Guaranteed Entry?

Most of our courses offer Guaranteed Entry, so you will receive an offer if your ATAR meets the required selection rank for that course (as long as you meet other admission requirements, like prerequisites).

Are you eligible to receive adjustment factors?

Adjustment factors are added to your ATAR to increase your selection rank for eligible courses, which will help you gain entry to your dream course if you do not meet the required ATAR.

Some schemes require you to submit an application and some award adjustment factors automatically, so you don't have to apply for them. If you are just below the selection rank for your dream course, keep it in your preferences as you may be eligible for adjustment factors that you are not aware of!

Explore some of our schemes:

Seek advice about different pathways to your course or career

Seek advice from your family, friends and career advisers and get as much information as you can to help you make an informed decision before preferences close.

Chat with us at events throughout the year, or attend Open Day or Info Day. Our staff and students are on hand to answer your questions, as well as help you finalise your preferences. Here are a few pathways you could consider:

  • Apply for a similar course with a lower ATAR, and study what you want through our shared pool of majors and minors.
  • Complete the first year of a related course with a lower ATAR then apply to transfer into your preferred course.
  • Apply for a graduate entry into postgraduate coursework, such as a master's degree, after you have completed your undergraduate degree.

Trust the process

It is not the end of your career hopes if you don’t get the marks you were hoping for. Entry scores are a signal about the demand for a course, not its inherent quality.

There are so many pathways into university and your ATAR is just one of those routes. If you don’t do as well as you had hoped, there are still many opportunities and ways to get the education you want for a rewarding career.

Last updated 23 April 2024
14 December 2017